The nation's top 100 defined-benefit pension plans say their combined deficit increased more than $250 billion in the third quarter, according to the latest Milliman Pension Funding Index. The plans have enough assets to cover about 73% of their liabilities. Meanwhile, a survey by Fidelity Investments found that about 70% of employees don't understand how their company's pension plan functions, and about a quarter are unsure about when their benefits will kick in.

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